Thursday, 1 October 2009
RON 95 and Subaru Impreza WRX STI Ver.10
There has been a lot of buzz regarding Malaysia's latest fuel: RON 95 gasoline which has taken over as the de facto standard petrol for most Malaysian motorists (previously RON 97). Never mind that it is now Euro2-M, being cleaner to the environment and the cost-effective alternative being promoted et al. Subaru has really opened a new horizon for the application of this lower 'grade' fuel to high performance cars.
Imagine my enlightening experience when I picked up a test unit of the latest WRX STI from Motor Image Sdn Bhd and it was fueled to approximate 1/3rd tank with Shell RON95! Apparently, this is a matter of company policy which states that no more than RM20 for fuel for any top-up at one time and no RON 97 for a car that actually runs optimally on RON 98 or even RON 100 in Japan!
Needless to say, over the 24hr loan period, the 2.5L boxer with high pressure (I was told it was an LPT) turbocharging (300bhp and 400Nm) guzzled up all the 40% tankful of fuel in no time! Doing what a rational driver would do, I used BHP Infiniti 97 and also refilled with Caltex 97 with Techron on two separate occassions later. And oh! what a difference it made! The hot-hatch became more responsive and willing, smoothly climbing up the rev range upon slight prodding. I had 90 percent my drives in S.I. Sport-Sharp mode. It's like having a Sprint Booster (of my ex-Mercedes E200K fame) which you can turn on at the twist of the dial (pic below). Ooooh...wicked!
Noticed that I didn't mentioned redline because the test unit was programmed for cut-off at 5,700rpm where you can actually feel the turbo boost losing its puff. Pity. To protect the engine it seemed, I was told. By the way, I was getting constantly above 18L/100km with absolutely wallet-busting level of 20L/100km of fuel 'economy'.
The new WRX STI is a lovely car despite its odd hatchback looks. The spaciousness inside belies the pregnant wheel arches bolted a rather smallish body. Its tenacity around bends defies all gung-ho bravado that you can muster and throw at it. The rack is sharp and quick with good feedback to it, better than its Mitsu arch-rival's item which goes limp (and listless) above 180km/h. The latest Scooby also rides pliant enough to be a daily car while the power burst i.e. turbo kick seem a lot more livelier than the Evolution X. But getting caught in a jam in PJ immediately after pick-up has sored up my left calf muscle considerably.
Makes you appreciate and yearn for that twin-clutch robotic assistant or that friendlier clutch pedal in the FD2 Civic Type-R. Perhaps that why the Evo X is more popular in Malaysia? (even though marginally so since both aren't meant to be volume sellers).